Summit School District shows steady growth; student population could peak soon | SummitDaily.com

Summit School District shows steady growth; student population could peak soon

Alli Langley
alangley@summitdaily.com
The Summit School District experienced record growth this school year after initially anticipating an increase of no more than one-half of 1 percent. Instead, its staring down an approximately 5-percent upswing across the county.
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SUMMIT SCHOOL DISTRICT STUDENT COUNT DATA

School 2014-15 student count Percent who qualify for free or reduced lunch

Breckenridge Elementary 242 12

Dillon Valley Elementary 424 52

Frisco Elementary 238 18

Silverthorne Elementary 319 66

Summit Cove Elementary 295 34

Upper Blue Elementary 292 31

Summit Middle School 703 34

Summit High School 788 27

Snowy Peaks High School 38 40

Total 3,341 35

School of Residence Percent of students attending their school of residence

Breckenridge Elementary 71

Dillon Valley Elementary 86

Frisco Elementary 93

Silverthorne Elementary 89

Summit Cove Elementary 65

Upper Blue Elementary 86

After a huge spike in growth last year, the Summit School District’s student population for 2014-15 grew by a more typical, manageable amount.

The official school count from Oct. 1 shows the district grew by 1.6 percent, from 3,287 students in 2013 to 3,341.

That’s compared to 4.2 percent growth between 2012-13 and 2013-14, an anomaly over the last 10 years.

Schools have stayed the same size relative to each other, with dual-language school Dillon Valley Elementary home to the most primary-level students.

The next largest is Silverthorne Elementary, followed by the similar-sized Summit Cove and Upper Blue elementary schools and the smaller Breckenridge and Frisco elementary schools.

Summit Middle School will teach about 700 students this year, about 790 will attend Summit High School and 38 were counted at Snowy Peaks High School.

The overall district is teaching 14 more students than projected, which adds about $120,000 in state funding to the $63.3 million in revenues budgeted.

“We grew very close to what we projected,” said Mark Rydberg, the district’s director of business services. As long as student populations and needs don’t shift too drastically, “more kids are better for us.”

He said the added students wouldn’t tax any buildings or resources.

The student population has grown 12.5 percent over the last three years, up from 2,969 in 2011.

DEMOGRAPHICS HOLDING STEADY

When looking at the data more closely, it appears the district’s demographics are holding steady.

The overall student body is 61 percent white, 34 percent Hispanic and 5 percent other races and ethnicities.

About a quarter of students are English language learners, ranging from non-English proficient to fully English proficient, with 16 percent of all students falling somewhere in between with limited English skills.

Those numbers haven’t changed much in the last five years, Rydberg said, though he has seen a positive trend where more of the English language learners have limited or full proficiency.

Of the students learning English as a second language, the large majority (91 percent) speak Spanish as a first language, while 18 other languages are spoken at home by students, including French, Uzbek, Ukrainian and Czech.

Socioeconomically speaking, about 35 percent of all students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, which is based on family incomes.

That number has declined from a spike in the 2013-14 year to 37 percent.

Broken down by school, the percentages of students who qualify for free or reduced-price varies from 12 percent at Breckenridge Elementary to 66 percent at Silverthorne Elementary.

Sixteen students were identified as homeless and living with other folks temporarily, Rydberg said, following an increased training push to accurately describe students’ living situations.

The number of students in different levels of curriculum is slowly growing with 6 percent of students in the gifted and talented category and 11 percent in special education.

The students attending Summit schools who live outside the county grew slightly to 108 as did homeschooled students, up to 73 this year.

Rydberg said students may bypass the schools close to where they live because their parents prefer the characteristics of other schools or find those schools logistically easier if they work nearby and commute.

SOMETHING TO WATCH

At a regular school board meeting Tuesday, Nov. 11, Rydberg presented the data to school board members and said something interesting to watch will be the possible effect of a decline in the local birth rate.

Summit County births don’t directly correlate to the student population, as residents constantly move to the county from elsewhere with their children.

However, the county’s birth rate peaked between 2006 and 2008 and declined substantially from 2009 to 2011.

A study from an independent firm predicts the district’s student body will correspondingly peak and then flatten or decline.


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